Growing up in the Middle East, and being of Turkish and Iranian descent, meat was always a staple in my diet. The smell of lamb kofta seasoned with onions and fresh parsley still takes me back to those days of barbecues by the paddling pool in my grandparents’ garden.
I’m not sure of the exact turning point, but I do remember giving up eating Big Macs and Whoppers back when ‘mad cow’ disease was a thing. From then onwards, cutting down on meat was not necessarily a conscious decision. At university, I bought and, therefore, ate less of it – I hated touching raw meat and vegetables were always cheaper. I moved to China after graduating and couldn’t brave eating meat there. The same happened when I lived in Mexico a few years later. I couldn’t bring myself to eat meat when I didn’t know where it came from.